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Haywire Custom Guitars Glossary Of Common Guitar And Guitar Repair Terms

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Haywire Custom Guitars Glossary Of Common Guitar And Guitar Repair Terms

The Haywire Custom Guitars Glossary Of Common Guitar And Guitar Repair Terms


Guitar Terms-Repair and Parts of Guitars

Haywire Custom Guitars Inc.-Telestrater

Haywire Custom Guitars Inc.-Telestrater

Repair And Common Guitar Terms

Below are a listing of commonly used guitar terms.  Most importantly, these terms are used in descriptions when selling guitars and repairing them. They are also used in replacement parts catalogs to describe problems, adjustments or specific features of a guitar.  They are extremely helpful in finding replacement parts for guitars.
A guitar player needs to know how instruments work.  Most importantly, what is in your guitar and is it adjustable?  Guitar terms help in understanding how a guitar functions, plays, feels, looks, works and how it adjusts. Because, guitar terms are also very useful in describing to a tech or repair person we added them here for you.  Consequently, they pinpoint areas in need of repair or attention.

Abalone – A highly colorful shell material commonly used on instrument inlays. Abalone inlays come in a rainbow of colors yet appear to change color when viewed from different angles. Sometimes also called “mother of pearl”. The color change is known as, iridescence
Action – A guitar term generally used to describe the strings height above the tops of the frets.
Active – When pickup’s are said to be active they incorporate a preamp which requires additional power. The result is a boost and/or wider range for the pickup.
Arch top – A guitar with an arched top which has been carved or pressed. The bridge and tail piece are movable. Generally associated with Jazz musicians. Common examples include the Gibson ES series of guitars.
Bakelite – Early form of plastic used in some guitars from the 30’s to the 50’s.
Bigsby – Term used for a simple non recessed vibrato developed by Paul Bigsby

maybe, commonly used guitar terms are good to learn

Binding – A protective and decorative strip made of wood or plastic that is placed along the outer most edges of the top, back, neck, fingerboard and some times head stock. This is a cap used to seal and protect joints. Sometimes incorrectly referred to as purfling, really refers to inlays along side of the binding and not the actual binding itself.
Block Markers – Square, rectangular or shark tooth inlays marking fingerboard position.
Body – The main portion of the guitar which the controls, bridge and pickups are mounted. The body can be hollow (a hollow body) or solid (a solid body) design.
Bolt On – Normally refers to an instrument that has it’s neck attached by bolts rather than being glued in place. Fender was on e of the first to use this design. Bold on is a bit of a misnomer as generally screws rather than bolts are used.
Book matched – Generally most acoustic and many arch top guitars have tops and backs that are either one or two pieces of wood glued together to form one large panel. Book matched refers to the wood coming from the same tree and actually being one piece of wood that has been but into consecutive slices so the grain in the panels creates mirror image patterns.

 in addition, what is in your guitar

Bout -The guitar’s body the most important characteristic of the guitar: it provides the resonance that shapes the tone of an acoustic or electric guitar, and provides the volume (or heft) of an acoustic guitar and the sustain of an electric. The top, smaller curved part closest to the strings is called the “treble” or “upper bout”, and the bigger curved part is the “bass” or “lower bout”, and the waist is the narrow section that divides them.
Brace – Braces are wooden struts glued inside hollow body guitars providing strength and affecting tone quality. An X brace is a popular brace pattern used in hollow body guitars. Other bracing patterns include the ladder brace, fan bracing and scalloped braces.
Bridge – Bridges come in a variety of shapes and sizes. On a solid body electric guitar they generally fixed and hold the saddle that makes contact with the strings. On arch top guitars the bridge is usually held in place only by the tension of the strings and can be easily moved, also called a “floating bridge”. Many bridges are adjustable by thumb wheels incorporated into the bridge. The bridge may sit on top of a bridge base plate or bridge plate.
Bridge Pins – Bridge Pins anchor the strings on to the bridge.
Bullet – Name give to the appearance of truss-rod adjuster nut on the head stock of some Fender guitars.
Bridge Pickup – In electric guitars this is the pickup that is placed closest to the bridge
CAP – Also called a capacitor, a common electrical component that stores up an electrical charge generally used on the tone potentiometer on electric guitars.

most of all, guitar replacement parts terms are great to know

Celluloid – A common plastic material used on guitar pick guards, tuners and binding. This material is not very durable and deteriorates over time therefore many vintage guitars have issues with celluloid parts.
Center Block – A solid wood block running through the body of a semi-acoustic guitar body.
Checking – Used to describe cracking found in lacquer finished guitars. Vintage guitars often have checking in their lacquer finishes. Checking is caused by the guitar’s wood expanding and contracting with changes in temperature and humidity. Is important to maintain constant humidity and reasonable range of temperature to prevent checking.
Cutaway – A guitar which has been cut away to allow easy access to the frets while reaching over the body. A double cut guitar away has both sides cut away. Many people just refer to “single cut” and “double cut” guitars.

Decking-Refers to a luthier technique whereby the tremolo is fully tightened. It lays flat on top of the guitar surface. It simulates a hard tail guitar.

Dog Ear – Nick name for a P-90 style pickup with mounting ears.
Dot Neck – Guitar with simple dot inlays in the neck position markers.

Guitar terms help in understanding  how a guitar functions

Dreadnought – Generally associated with C.F. Martin and their biggest and loudest acoustic guitar. Now used my many other brands on large acoustic guitar models.
Electro-Acoustic – An acoustic guitar with a built in pickup, often a piezo electric pickup.
End block – Acoustic guitars normally have an end block and a neck block at opposite ends of the body. The end block is usually glued to the top, back, and sides at the bottom end of the guitar. Often strap buttons are anchored into this block as it provides the strength necessary to support a strap.
F-hole – Term used for an “f” shaped sound hole on some hollow body and semi-acoustic guitars.
Fingerboard (also called a fret board) – This is the surface of the neck that contains the frets. Note there are also some guitars that are “fret-less” but the fingerboard is still used without frets. The fingerboard is generally a separate piece of wood glued to the neck. It’s often made of a hard durable wood as the frets must be securely anchored into the fret board. Vintage guitars often used Brazilian Rosewood and Ebony for fingerboard material.

While, Guitar Terms are many it helps to learn them for spare and Repair parts

Finish – This refers to the protective coating covering the guitar, often paint or lacquer.
Fixed Bridge – Refers to non-vibrato bridges.
Flame – Sometimes also called Flame Top. Generally refers to Maple with dramatic grain resembling flames.
Flat Top – Used to refer to an acoustic guitar with a flat (non-arched) top. Many Martin and Gibson guitars are considered flat top acoustic guitars.
Fret – Metal wire in-layed at intervals along the fingerboard. The guitar player presses down on the string forcing the string to touch the fret changing the sting length and producing different notes. There are a variety of fret wire profiles used for frets.
Hang Tag – Small tags and cards hung on guitars in show rooms. A hang tag for a vintage guitar is generally very difficult to find.
Hard Tail – Term used to describe an electric guitar without a vibrato bridge, often used to describe Fender guitars.
Head stock – Describes the part of the guitar where the strings attach to the tuners. Also called a peg head. Fender generally uses 6 in-line tuners on the head stock and Gibson prefers three on each side of the head stock.

Help in discovery of the part names

Heel – Portion of neck where the neck curves or is reduced to join the body.
Hollow Body – An electric guitar body style with a thin body similar to an acoustic guitar.
Humbucker – A noise canceling twin coil pickup normally associated with Fender.
Inlay – Decorative material that is cut and embedded into the body, neck or head stock of a guitar.
Intonation – Refers to the guitars ability to play in tune at various positions along the neck. Often adjusted by adjusting the bridge saddle.
Jackplate – Mounting plate for output jack.
Laminated – The backs, sides and even tops of some instruments can be made from several pieces of wood which have been laminated to form one piece, usually at the determent of it’s sound. (Especially if it’s the top that’s laminated.)A neck can also be made from more than one piece of wood to produce a decorative center stripe.
Locking Nut – Bolts that lock the strings in place at the nut.

A guitar player needs to know how instruments work since, he’s working with it

Logo – The manufactures brand name or trademark usually on the head stock.
Luthier – A guitar maker and guitar repair expert/tech. Always look for a trained luthier.  Sometimes incorrectly spelled Luther.
Machine Heads – also knows as tuners or tuning machines. Allows string tension to be changed changing the pitch of the strings.
Neck Block – The neck block is found inside of the body at the base of the neck. The Neck block provides a strong point to mount the neck to the body.
Neck Plate – A metal plate used in the Fender style bolt on designs. It is screwed to the neck and the body fastening the neck to the guitar body.
Neck Reset – A neck reset is performed restore the correct angle between the fingerboard bridge which provides the correct action needed to play the guitar.
Neck Press – Uses gentle heat and pressure to straighten a neck. Can be tricky and should only be performed by a trained luthier.
Nut – Located at the end of the fingerboard before the head stock, used to provide proper string height and spacing before the strings enter the tuners.

Information about your guitar because, you need info to describe problems

P-90 – Refers to an early Gibson single coil pickup.
PAF – Refers to a sticker on Gibson pickups.
Passive – Usually describes a guitar that does not use pickups which require power (active pickups).
Peghead – A peghead is where the tuners are mounted, also called a head stock. Vintage guitars often have cracks or repaired headstocks as this will often crack if a guitar falls over.
Pick guard – Also called a scratch plate, a thin covering screwed or glued to the top of a guitar to protect the guitar from picks and fingernails. Comes in a variety of colors and styles. Often cracked around the screw holes on vintage guitars.
Pickup –  Neck, Middle, and bridge – Refers to the pickup locations from the neck to the bridge area.
Pot – A Potentiometer mounted to the body of an electric guitar commonly used for control of volume and tone. The tone pot will normally have a capacitor soldered in circuit.
Pre-CBS – Refers to Fender guitars manufactured before the 1965 takeover of Fender by CBS. Vintage collectors prefer pre-CBS guitars.
Quilted – Describes beautiful undulating pattern found in wood, generally refers to Maple and can also be referred to as “maple quilting” or maple quilted”.

first of all, what is in your guitar and is it adjustable?

Relief – The upward arching bow in an instrument’s neck that allows the strings to move without touching the frets. A bowed or warped neck will have to be either heated and/or pressed to restore the neck to correct relief.
Refin – Refers to a refinished guitar. Refinished guitars have a significantly lower value than original guitar with the original surface.
Refret – Also called a fret job, refers to re-fretting a guitar.
Rout – A hole or cavity cut into a guitar, often the body of the guitar. Many times a pickup cavity is routed to enable a different pickup to be installed. Routing will diminish the value of a vintage guitar and routing should not be done on a valuable guitar.
Rosette – The decorative strip or inlay work found around the sound hole on an acoustic guitar.

guitar terms for either learning your instrument and, or repairs

Saddle – The part of the bridge where the strings make contact transferring the string vibration to the bridge and body of the guitar.
Scale Length – Length of the vibrating string from nut to saddle or twice the distance from the nut to the 12th fret.
Set Neck – A set neck is a neck that is glued into the body and uses no bolts for attachment. This is normally associated with electric guitars.
Setup – Guitar repair term to set intonation and action and all services to achieve the set up such as neck axis alignment to get the proper relief.
Single Coil Pickup – An early pickup design with a single coil of wire wrapped around a magnet
Soap Bar – Nickname for a P-90 style pickup that has no mounting ears.
Solid Body – Refers to electric guitars with a solid (non-hollow) body. Includes many Fender and Gibson guitars.
Spaghetti Logo – Early style Fender logo with letters resembling spaghetti. Used to assist in dating Fender guitars.
Sound Hole – Hole in the top of the body of a hollow body guitar. May enhance sound of be simply for looks. An F-Hole is a type of sound hole.
Sustain – Length of time a string vibrates

guitar terms for repair due to, guitar issues

Split Coil – A double coil pickup wound with multiple coils that are smaller than a standard 2 coil pickup where each coil works with a few strings. Most commonly one coil is used for the e and a strings and one coil is used for the d and g strings. The Fender Precision bass uses this type of pickup. A split coil generally has a little less hum canceling but better high frequency response.
Stop Tail piece – Sometimes called a stud tail piece. Fixed to the top of the guitar and anchors the strings to the top. Holes in the tail piece allow strings to pass through the stop tail piece and over the bridge.
T- Frets – Refers to the shape of the metal fret. T-Frets are used in most re-fretting.

Guitar terms help describe problems

Tail piece – On instruments without bridge pins the strings are commonly anchored to a tail piece. This normally mounts to the end block and pulls the strings down towards the top after passing across the bridge.
Thin-line – Another term used to describe hollow body electric guitars, first used with the Gibson Byrd land guitar. Also used by Fender and others.
Through Neck – A through neck design uses a neck that actually runs right through the center of the body.
Trapeze Tail piece – Because, this style tail piece design has a hinge like mechanism on it therefore, has a shape similar to a swinging trapeze.
Tremolo – Another term used for Vibrato or Tremolo Arm but could refer to the entire bridge style. Some bridges are Tremolo and some are hard tail or non-moveable.
Truss Rod – A rod which runs through the center of a guitar’s neck below the fingerboard, The truss rod helps to stiffen the neck and prevent bowing caused by the tension with in tune strings. Can be adjusted (in most guitars) to change the relief of the neck.
Truss Rod Cover – A decorative cover that covers up the access point for adjusting the truss rod.

furthermore, guitar terms for replacement parts

Thumb wheel – A small wheel used on adjustable bridges (those usually found on arch top guitars or mandolins) to adjust the bridges height. The top portion of an adjustable bridge rest upon these flat wheels and as they are screwed upward on their post the top portion of the bridge is raised.
Tune-o-matic – This bridge is commonly found on Les Paul style electric guitars. Since, it sits on two thumb wheels and has six saddles it will allow individual intonation adjustment for each string.
Tuning Machines – Mechanical devices used to increase or decrease string tension. Located on the guitar head stock. furthermore, these can be all inline 6-L, all individual or in 2 groups (Gibson style) for example: 3X3 .

in conclusion, use guitar terms as a result, for describing issues

Veneer – Refers to thin wood or plastic laminate used in the construction of some guitars.
Vibrato – Bridge and/or tail piece which can alter the pitch of strings when the vibrato arm is pressed. Also called a whammy bar.
Volute – A piece of wood installed just behind the peg head. It strengthens the neck where the head stock begins.

Now that you understand some parts of a guitar and general guitar terms.  It’s time to build one!
Haywire Custom Guitars Guitar Terms Glossary Page

Rick Mariner – Owner, founder and CEO of Haywire Custom Guitars Inc.( ) and a member of The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (A.S.I.A.) as well as a guitar player. He holds a bachelors degree from University of Md. and a Masters degree from George Washington University. Haywire developed an 8 – Point “Gig- Ready” guitar process  therefore that allows for Haywire Custom Guitars that are “GIG-READY”. Rick has worked on guitars for almost 40 years. Hence, has lots of experience.
Also, with many years of development and guitar set-up experience, we pride ourselves in helping to build you the “Just Right” Haywire guitar for you at prices well below market. Consequently, Haywire Custom Guitars, “Builds satisfied players… one Haywire guitar at a time”.

The “Violator”

image The "Violator" double cutaway by Haywire Custom Guitars guitar terms

A Double Cutaway “Violator”  by: Haywire Custom Guitars (guitar terms)

The “Violator”

Source: Haywire Custom Guitars Inc.

Ordering From Haywire Custom Guitars

In addition, if you would like to order this or any other custom guitar, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your guitar needs.

About the Author:

Mr. Rick Mariner Owner and Founder and CEO of Haywire Custom Guitars Inc. He is a member of The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (A.S.I.A.) as well as a guitar player. Rick holds a bachelors degree from University of Md. and a Masters degree from George Washington University. Rick developed his exclusive 8 – Point “Gig- Ready” guitar process that allows for Custom Guitars that are “GIG-READY”. With Rick’s many years of development and guitar set-up experience, Haywire Guitar shop “Builds satisfied players… one Haywire guitar at a time”.

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